Funeral For Justice album review by Ethan Rebalkin for Northern Transmissions. The bands full-length drops on May 3rd via Matador Records


Funeral For Justice

Mdou Moctar

Funeral For Justice is the new album from Nigerian quartet Mdou Moctar, out May 3rd on legendary indie label Matador Records. Funeral For Justice is the much anticipated follow up to Moctar’s 2021 album Afrique Victime and re-establishes a lot of the anti-colonial themes and messages that can be found on that record. Single and title track, “Funeral For Justice” opens up the album with scorching guitar leads and entrancing polyrhythms. Rich in passionate, and anti-colonial sentiment, you can feel the urgency in Moctar’s harrowing vocal melodies and angular guitar playing.

Sitting under a subtle back-beat, and similarly subdued guitar playing, “Imouhar” starts with Moctar’s signature Tuareg prose, before an unruly guitar solo opens the song right up. The 5-minute long tune features an exploration of Moctar’s guitar prowess. Moctar doesn’t shy away from exploring the fretboard on this cut, even experimenting with some atonal tapping, hammer-ons, and pull-offs.

“Takoba” is easily the most mellow track yet of Funeral For Justice. Ear-piquing chord changes sit under Moctar’s call and response vocals, and ever changing guitar leads. Cascading guitar leads trade back and forth between a clean acoustic, and fuzzed out electric.

The low hum of a feedbacking guitar leads the way on “Sousoume Tamacheq” before warbling, scrambled guitars, and a seductive bassline pulls you in and doesn’t let you go. This song could feature the most impressive bass performance on the album. It’s absolutely locked in with the drums and provides the perfect canvas for Moctar’s guitar leads to frolic about. Reverb drenched guitar leads and unpredictable oscillating guitars bring you to the end, not before the buoyant guitars of “Imajighen” keep things moving. The vocal performance really steals the show on this song. Super lush, and breathy, with the group harmonies coming in at the perfect moments.

“Djallo #1” works as an instrumental interlude to “Oh France.” You can hear the frustration and desperation in this song. Given that France has a history of colonization in Mdou Moctar’s Niger, the frustration only makes more sense. It almost sounds like Moctar is pleading, begging to France. It’s a totally harrowing and brave performance and makes for a very powerful song. This song also happens to contain some of the most intricate production on the record. Late in the track, there are lots of sound stage happenings with synths and pads that keep you consistently engaged.

Album closer “Modern Slaves” is another politically earnest cut, but this time with a slightly more somber approach. Hushed vocals sit over swaying guitars and a busy percussion section, until finally a chorus of vocals brings you to the end of the album, and leaves you with a glimmer of hopeful melancholy.

Pre-order Funeral For Justice by Mdou Moctar HERE


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